The Wise Seek Wisdom

The funny thing about wisdom is that it’s an oxymoron.  Just think about it, no one is truly wise, because everybody is thirsty for more knowledge on a subject that they struggle with.  Anyways, there is improvement for everyone.  I personally am asked for relationship advice, but I don’t really know how to respond.  Therefore, I am a neutral perspective.  Here’s a fact:  No one will ever have all the answers except for one – God!  He knows what the best thing for everyone is.  He knows your strengths and your weaknesses.  Wise people seek wisdom from others that specialize in that topic because they would want to know they are going to be successful.  If you and a friend were going to drown, who would you want to save you?  Not your friend, or else you would both drown!  Same thing here.  You wouldn’t ask someone who has never picked up a pencil before to write a novel; you would ask a writer who has written novels their entire lives!  We challenge you to find a group of people who you can really learn from, that will make you wiser on a variety of topics.

Wisdom is not a collection of knowledge and facts.  Wisdom is also the paring of this knowledge and the discernment of when to apply it in life.  Each and every day in our home, we receive a wide assortment of factoids and interesting “Did you knows”.  Our children are a smorgasbord of weird and amazing believe it or nots.  If we gauged success by a randomization of facts, they would be climbing the ladder to stardom.  As parents, we know intelligence without application won’t get you far beyond the library.  Wisdom, however, is a constant seeking of how to apply gained knowledge.  Knowing when and where to take action.  Wisdom is comprised of knowledge and the associated experience both in gaining it and seeing its consequences.  This helps us know how to apply it in the future should we stumble upon the scenario again.  This is why it is so beneficial to know people who have been there, done that and now have the blood-and-sweat stained t-shirt to prove it.  Seek out these people!

There are times in life we feel stuck and limited by the situation we are in.  We are prideful by nature and want to also be the one who knows the right answer to solve your own problems.  There is just one problem with that…you weren’t made to solve all of your own problems alone.  We were created to connect with others in meaningful ways.  Maybe you have tried to seek veteran survivors of your situation and you still find yourself trapped.

I struggled with this for so long.  Maybe you are the same way.  You want to be independent and someone others always feel they can count on.  There is a lot of pressure to be the one to fix everyone else and solve all of the issues, including our own.  We would love to think this makes us appear to be a person in control, large and in charge.  I found the opposite to be true.  Once we decide we know it all, we are closed to new ideas, the ability to learn and shut down to what God wants to speak into our hearts.

If you lead others or are struggling to understand why your advice may not be accepted.  Acknowledge wisdom is a journey and the path itself can teach us a lot about ourselves.  Our brains make new connections and allow us to connection information and apply it in brand new ways.  You could walk the same path every day and still it would have something to teach you.  Change helps us identify ways to create new opportunities for growth and knowledge.  People want to know you are human just like them.  They want to know you will walk along side of them in this life, seeking ways to open yourself to new experiences.  If you knew everything there was to know, what would be left for you to learn?

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Ephesians 5:15-16

 

 

Assumptions

Assumption is defined as a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof.  In the context of relationships, this is a challenging word.  We all do it, we know the consequences, but some times we just can’t help ourselves.  We like to believe we know exactly what is going to happen next. We will even convince ourselves there are no other alternatives.  We make them quickly and often without consideration for the slightest possibility that we might be mistaken.

We would love to tie an absolute to it and say when we operate on living without proof or validity to what we think, feel and believe, we are bound to live in a darkness of disappointment and confusion. On the other hand, assumption allows us to have faith in things we haven’t seen in person.  We love to believe the best about the people in our lives, that they always have our best interests in mind.  Typically, we can feel good about making these assumptions because of the strong connections we have and the trust we have established.

We get into a bit of trouble when we make assumptions based on our own feelings or interpretations and forget to evaluate them against those truths.  While there may be deeply rooted emotions tied to your assumption or a history of repeated offenses, if you are only relying on your own perception, there might be more truth lurking in the shadows than you are willing to acknowledge or accept.

The good news is no matter how far down the path of despair you may travel, forgiveness follows close behind.  At any moment you can turn away from a path of destruction and place your burdens on the shoulders of forgiveness.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV

Confidence

In a world full of comparison and competition, it is easy to become discouraged and lack the confidence needed to move forward.

We have each been given a specific set of gifts and talents, however when we spend our time comparing, we are essentially trying to play a game with the wrong pieces and set of rules.  Or could you imagine showing up to practice with the wrong equipment?  Could you picture a football player showing up for a swim meet, standing on the blocks in full gear?  He would drown in seconds!  And that is just what we do everyday we try to live someone else’s life with our unique abilities.  You cannot look at someone else’s way of living and wish you had it with what you have been given, even if you tried to fake it for awhile, you would eventually feel the drain and exhaustion of the charade.  And you would lack the confidence to keep on trying.

Want to know why some people look like “they have it so easy”? Because they are living the life God intended for them, they are applying themselves with the attributes needed to successfully play the game on the right field.   They seem so confident…that’s because they ARE!   They have confidence in what they are doing typically because they enjoy what they are doing, they are skilled in that area, and they know what to anticipate.

Confidence comes from the belief you have about yourself.  Perhaps there is an area of your life where you feel self-conscious or have a lack of confidence.  Then you most likely know the thoughts and feelings which moved in when confidence moved out:  Fear, anxiety, worry, fatigue.

Not one of these feelings promotes a motivation to see yourself they way God sees you.  We can have confidence today that there is a plan for each of us.  Which is great news!  There is a catch, and that is He also wants you to seek Him. In doing so, he will begin to reveal the specific way in which he made you.  As with any plan, it requires some work.  Jeremiah 29:11 tells us God has a plan:

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Listen carefully to what happens next,  God requires an action.. he gives us something to do.  It isn’t enough for Him to know the plan, we have to do some digging to make it come to life. Jeremiah 12 – 13 goes on to call us into action in order to receive and know God’s plan:

12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

God doesn’t just have a plan.  He has an ACTION plan!  You can be confident knowing that if you seek, you will find, if you ask, he will answer.  And if you open your heart, he will fill it with everything you need.

You Are…

“Everyone is someone else’s something.”

An encouraging word is often one of the simplest and impactful ways to lift someone up.  You hold within you the power to bring hope to the lost and healing to the broken,  Today we want you to know we believe with all our hearts, you are:

…LOVED

…GIFTED

…TALENTED

…CHOSEN

…INTELLIGENT

…CREATIVE

…STRONG

…RESILIENT

…FUNNY

…WANTED

…BRAVE

…SPECIAL

…WORTHY

…COURAGEOUS

…UNIQUE

…WONDERFUL

…INVINCIBLE

…POWERFUL

…CARING

…RESPECTED

…_________

What is your word of encouragement today?  Who does God say YOU ARE?

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I AM helped:  therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and and with my song I will praise him.”

 

 

The Heart of the Matter

For a kid my age, emotions are a big deal, and sometimes we may think that a situation calls for a tornado of emotions, but we have to learn to control them.

For example, I have held a lot of hurt in the past such as kids hurting my feelings, and it really doesn’t feel good. Some ways that have helped me, though, is being around people I am happiest with. I also joined clubs, and I signed up to volunteer at my church. I work with the two-year-olds, and they’re not always smiling , but they’re a blast to hang out with!

They, along with my friends and family, have brought me to where I am today: a smiley face that usually gets a smile back. Sure I still hurt a little on the inside, but I choose to channel that hurting energy into being a figure that may inspire young girls and boys in the future!

Anyways, the main lesson here is regardless of what you’re going through or putting up with, we should always manage our emotions to the best of our ability.

Love,

Ashton

 

As adults and as parents, we have to be able to help our kids and the young people in our lives validate their emotions.  The caveat is we also have to acknowledge our own.  This may unlock a treasure trove of feelings, responses and unresolved internal conflict.  Let’s face it, our emotions are a heavy load to carry, weighing us down and preventing us to truly be in the moment and react appropriately in every single situation.

Like me, you are probably juggling work, family, sports, finances, worry, anxiety and relationships every moment of the day.  We don’t often feel like we can slow down and manage the ticking time bomb waiting to explode at exactly the wrong time to the least expecting person.

I am here to tell you today…you are not perfect!  But you are loved, you are forgiven and you are capable of turning those moments around.

There are days all of that juggling leaves us feeling empty at the end of the day.  Empty is a breeding ground for anger and resentment.  When you don’t have anything filling you up with hope and love, you can’t possibly give it out to anyone else.  Empty is hard, Empty is lonely, but Empty is not what Jesus died for.  He died to give us life, to show us more love than we could ever receive over a lifetime.

God spoke to me several years ago about using writing to share my story and to go to that place of emotion, brokenness so it could be used for healing.  My emotions told me, “I don’t want to go there.  I don’t have time for that!”  Meanwhile, the stress of life still left me feeling like something was missing.

This year I prayed for God to break me, to open my heart to live poured out.  Poured out probably sounds like “empty”, however there is a subtle yet significant difference.  POURED OUT means there is something there to give.  My prayer for you today is that you fill yourself with a hope that has no limit and a love without boundaries and you find ways to allow the abundance to spill out and overflow into others.

 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.   Luke 6:45 (NIV)